Originally Posted By: Caoimh?n P. Connell
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Hello All -
First of all, let me thank all of you for your input and responses- since I have participated in your discussion group, I have learned a tremendous amount as a result of your perspective and experiences.
Also, I am not picking on any one person, or any one profession; I am trying to exclusively address concepts.
ANYONE, including home inspectors, industrial hygienists, doctors and possibly even a sitting judge from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals can perform proper mould assessments. (OK, maybe there are some things that you cannot teach the 9th Circuit?, but apart from that, anyone can do it).
My bone of contention is NOT with HIs, my bone of contention is with anyone including Certified Industrial Hygienists, who use myth and silliness, and perform sampling and data analysis in a vacuum without the benefit of a good foundation of understanding of the underlying concepts.
In the last year, I have been an expert witness against two Certified Industrial Hygienists (one of whom has a PhD), in IAQ related litigation that included mould. In each case, the CIHs lost, and I prevailed ? and I was as direct and critical of my own peers their work as I am of HIs and indeed, my own work (of which, I am particularly critical).
So you ask:
?? but what is your opinion about the whole mold class and HI's reporting their findings??
Answer: Simple ? No matter who you are, or what your profession even if you are a MD, or a CIH, or a PE - if you cannot sit down and draw up data quality objectives for the sampling you are about to perform; if you do not have a sampling and analysis QA/QC programme in place, if you cannot explain to a client the difference between bias, precision and accuracy and provide to them the upper confidence limit for any one single sample you have collected, and you do not know the difference (at least in concept) between an amerospore and a basidiospore, and can?t explain why there is a non-linear relationship between spore concentrations and reported CFUs resulting in a negative bias, then you should not be taking any samples (IMHO). And if you do ? and it goes to court, YOU will be put on the stand, and you WILL face someone like me, and the attorney WILL ask you to explain these concepts. If you cannot answer them, you will not just be embarrassed, you will be discredited and possibly face your civil liability issues.
So you ask:
What is your opinion on how an inspector should report the finding that both lets the buyer/owner be aware of the problem without freaking them out and at the same time not increasing the liability of the HI by inaccurately reporting it or not at all.
How would you handle the potential exposure issue if you found out that the house you were inspecting was built on a radium/uranium dump? Would you take a radon sample and call it good? Would you run out and take a quick 3-day class on radiation toxicology? Why then would you treat microbiology and industrial hygiene exposure issues any differently?
You say that you have defeated every HI's findings, what could they have reported that would not have required any drastic measures and kept it out of any "arena"?
The HIs and CIHs that I have defeated in court, have made the same mistakes ? they performed their work in the absence of a foundational and working knowledge of sampling theory, PARCC parameters of data analysis, aerobiology, microbiology, and toxicology. In each case, the consultant stepped out of their real area of expertise and presumed
they possessed sufficeint knowledge to perform the work.
Is it correct to recommend a method to cleaning it or leave it well alone?
Depends on the totality of the circumstances; each case should be considered on its own merit (IMHO).
In short, we all know, mold is everywhere. What is the best way to handle (report) it (in your opinion).
Correctly. Using sound science, credible experience and training, and tenable methodologies (usually meaning ?state-of-the-art? and/or ?standard industry practices held to the highest standard of care.?)
I've just read dribs and drabs but I thought that when you got mold certified all you've done was take samples according to some organizational standard and sent what you had to a lab, so that they could do the testing.
There are no such standards. I am currently writing the slit impaction (Air-O-Cell) sampling methodology for the ASTM International Standard. I have completed the first draft which has been submitted to the appropriate committee for critical evaluation and review by the entire sub-sub-committee.
I don't have 50 bazillion-gazillion hours of ed. under my belt, so I should not attend ???
I really don?t have any information about any specific course or certification, and I have not addressed any particular course here. But ask yourself this: Which is more beneficial and/or confers greater liability: Misleading and improper education, or no education? Then ask who is conducting/teaching the class.
These are just my thoughts. As I say, this is a great forum where we can exchange these ideas in a friendly and constructive manner. Imagine how passionate you and your colleagues would be come if a bunch of (well meaning) Industrial Hygienists or microbiologists, in complete ignorance of building codes, construction techniques, wiring codes, etc., decided that since we are doing mould inspections in houses anyway, we might as well start calling our work ?home inspections? ? even though we are entirely incompetent to so do? Would we start getting sued? And would HIs be the professional rebuttal witnesses eating us alive in court?
Food for thought. That?s all. Clarity before agreement.
Thanks again for all of your wonderful criticisms and thanks for teaching me.
Caoimh?n P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist
<SMALL> (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)